Cops didn't assault deceased - witness
CONTRADICTING testimony by the aunt of a Soweto teenager, Thabo Mokoka, about how he was allegedly punched by the police before being shot dead, his friend yesterday testified she had not seen him being assaulted.
The heavily pregnant 15-year-old girl, who was with the alleged teenage gangster moments before his death, yesterday told the Johannesburg High Court that she did not see any officer assaulting Mokoka.
On Monday Mokoka's aunt, Mpumi Mokoka, testified that the police had punched him after breaking down his shack door.
She said when he was punched he fell down and crawled out of the door before an officer put a foot on his neck and demanded to know where his illegal gun was.
But yesterday Mokoka's friend, who may not be named after a court order, said she had been the one who opened the door when the police knocked on February 14.
The police had gone there after allegations that Mokoka was a member of a notorious gang in the area and that he was in possession of an illegal firearm.
"There were four of us sitting in Thato's shack when we heard the police knocking at the main house, saying they were looking for Thato.
"The police were aggressive and threatened to assault Thato's grandmother if she did not tell them where he was. She told them to look for him in the shack," she said.
The girl said when the police knocked at the shack they did not open the door immediately since they were scared by the manner in which they were knocking.
She said moments later she was told by Mokoka to open the door.
"They asked us what we were doing in the shack at that time of the night and ordered us to go to our homes."
The teenager said Mokoka went out of the shack with his hands raised and was brought down by one police officer.
Asked if she could point out the officer who had done this, the girl pointed at Sipho Mbatha and said: "That's him."
Mbatha, a student constable at the Dobsonville police station, is accused of shooting Mokoka dead on the night.
The case was postponed to today after the teenager became tired and needed rest.